Over the last few years, Disney has been remaking many of their classic animated films into live-action ones. It has been working out incredibly well for them, but I haven’t been a huge Disney cartoon watcher growing up — with the exception of the Pixar films — so I’m not too interested in the trend. I prefer a good Looney Tunes cartoon to a Disney one, personally.
Having said that, I have to admit that Jon Favreau crafted an excellent remake of The Jungle Book, and was one of the best films I’ve seen all year. Now it looks like he’s going back to the Disney well to bring another jungle-based film to life. Disney has announced that Favreau will develop a remake of The Lion King. Here’s what the director tweeted:
Excited for my next project ????????
— Jon Favreau (@Jon_Favreau) September 28, 2016
The computer generated animals in The Jungle Book were so lifelike, that I suspected The Lion King, one of the biggest animated films of all time, was surely on the way. I’m surprised Favreau is the one bringing it to the big screen, but I guess he would be the expert at directing a film with talking computer animated wild animals.
With The Jungle Book, there was at least one human character who was played by a real boy surrounded by computer graphics. The Lion King will feature computer generated animals exclusively, which is why I suspect the project is being referred to as a “reimagining” rather than a live-action remake. Another possibility is actually shooting in Africa, but I suspect the filmmakers have no interest in that.
Another interesting thing to think about is that since the characters will be voiced, there’s an interesting possibility as to who will be part of the cast. Unlike The Jungle Book, the original cast for The Lion King is still around to reprise their roles. I can’t imagine anyone but James Earl Jones playing Mufasa, and there’s no reason why he couldn’t play him again.
As of right now, there’s no release date, but it could debut in the fall of 2018 or perhaps spring 2019.
Here’s the official press release from Disney:
We can officially confirm that The Walt Disney Studios and director Jon Favreau are putting a new reimagining of The Lion King on the fast track to production. The project follows the technologically groundbreaking smash hit The Jungle Book, directed by Favreau, which debuted in April and has earned $965.8 million worldwide.
The Lion King builds on Disney’s success of reimagining its classics for a contemporary audience with films like Maleficent, Cinderella, and The Jungle Book. The upcoming Beauty and the Beast, starring Emma Watson as Belle, is already one of the most anticipated movies of 2017. Like Beauty and the Beast, The Lion King will include songs from the animated film. Disney and Favreau are also in development on a sequel to The Jungle Book. No release date has been announced for either film.
The Lion King (1994) is one of the biggest animated films of all time with a lifetime global box office gross of $968.8 million, including $422.8 million domestically. It won Academy Awards for the original song “Can You Feel the Love Tonight” (Elton John, Tim Rice) and original score (Hans Zimmer), plus two Grammy Awards, with the soundtrack selling over 14 million copies. In 1997, the stage production The Lion King made its Broadway debut, winning six Tony Awards; 19 years later, it remains one of Broadway’s biggest hits alongside several other productions running around the world, including London, Hamburg, Tokyo, Madrid, Mexico City, Shanghai, and North America. Translated into eight different languages, its 23 global productions have been seen by more than 85 million people across every continent except Antarctica. The Lion King’s worldwide gross exceeds that of any film, Broadway show or other entertainment title in box office history.